Thank you for hosting me today on Curling Up By The Fire.
I was planning on interviewing two characters from The Mark of Kane, but only one has shown up. And while there are few people I would sit in a dark vestibule of an old church at two in the morning to interview, these two qualify. The demon contingency of interviewees have special needs and their participation in the story is key. From the itch of sulfur in my nostrils and the shimmer of gold flesh and black sigils, I’m relieved that at least Abraxas has arrived.
LW: “Should we wait on Chaz or do you want to go ahead and tell the readers a little bit about yourself, and maybe about him?” I slid farther back in my seat as the eight-foot figure perched on the top of the pew before me. No elaborate stain glassed windows framed the nave. Instead cold, white moonlight filtered through plain glass and illuminated the swirl of horns rising from the flesh on either side of Abraxas’s face. The bones swept back in a graceful arc, meeting at a deadly point at the back of his head. An interesting protection helmet, I thought as I waited on his answer.
His fingers curled, the razor-tipped ends reflecting moonlight like silver nail polish. “I have no wish to be here, scribe. But as I have no choice let me make this quick. Chaz will not be here. Tonight or any other in your lifetime.”
LW: Okay. “He is alive though?”
Abraxas tilted his head, and leaned closer. His smile, if I could call it one, depicted a surprisingly white set of normal teeth. “He is alive. No thanks to your tale.”
LW: I held up my hands. “I only write the story the needs to be told.”
“Then it is fortunate for you that the Halfling was able to save our brother.”
LW: “You mean, Kane.” I received only a grunt. “He and Chaz were partnered for scouting runs by Shalim, certainly they would have loyalty toward each other. Kane wouldn’t leave his partner to die.”
I shifted uneasily at his growl.
LW: “Maybe we should just move on to how you met Kane?”
A rumble of humor, long and deep, shook the pews. “I didn’t meet him. We didn’t become acquainted in bar or at a neighborhood picnic. He crashed through the ceiling of our demon compound, a weak broken boy, and refused to die.”
He stretched his neck a second and stared at the gallery above me as if in thought. “His salvation was his skill to scent the putrid odor of the sorcerers. That and his stubbornness.”
LW: The fiery gaze he turned back on me made me swallow hard. I’d never been that close to a raging inferno.
“I admit I tried to kill him. Many times. I try to kill all my trainees. They learn nothing if I coddle them like babies.” Another grunt echoed in the darkness. “He leapt the flaming pits and dodged the lash with greater skill than some of our younglings. With mortal food, rest, and training, his speed and cunning surpassed many. He delivered himself to the physical endurance and then exceeded mentally enough to try to aid his brethren.” A trace of pride filtered through his words “Not that demons need the help of a Halfling.”
LW: I relaxed and waited for Abraxas to tell the story his own way.
“But the real test of training is releasing the subject.” He suddenly sat silent.
LW: “You mean after Kane had grown up and chose to live in Los Angeles part of the time?”
“No. A year after he joined us, we left him in the desert not far from a human outpost. One week later he returned. He bore bruises and cuts from a fight, but to find us he would have had to walk for days, leaving soon after we departed. Barely able to stay conscious, he knelt before my master and swore his oath of allegiance.”
LW: “I gather the human village wasn’t exactly sanctuary for Kane?”
“Humans.” He spat the words. The fire diminished in his eyes, but the pupils widened and the dark pitch inside seemed to suck the blackness from around us. “They were driven by greed and covet as always. A team of them beat and robbed him, and then beat him some more for amusement. And people blame us for their choices. We don’t injure our own for sport.”
LW: “I’m surprised he would have told you what happened.”
“He did not. But his wounds were fresh and his blood told me the story. I sequestered him with our scholar.” As if aware of my confusion for what seemed like an act of aid, he shrugged. “Our clan feeds on emotions. Those that offer the most strength are sexual in nature, not violent. However, violence can still call to the youngest in our pack. Kane’s wounds and his trial would not only entice, but weaken the ones whose conditioning was not yet resistant.”
LW: “You saved him.” I pushed on despite the frown drawing his brow bones into a threatening V. “You trained him and when he passed his test and came home, you saved him from being mauled at his weakest point.”
“The clan is the only important thing. Not the individual.” He roared the words, but settled down for a second with his eyes closed as if he were aware he’d lost his edge. “I ensured his condition wouldn’t disrupt the clan. I also serve my master, Shalim. He had use for Kane—alive.”
LW: Right. I wasn’t about to bring up how the male demons actually raise and care for the few infant progeny. No service was more important in the demon clan than protection of the young. Whether Abraxas considered Kane to be under his protection or not wasn’t a concept I thought we’d make any headway on tonight. “Any final thoughts on Kane’s future?”
He sighed. The reaction surprised me more than anything I’d learned tonight.
“He cannot avoid his destiny. My kind has lived long enough to understand there is no escape. Whether any of us will survive what he brings, remains to be seen.” He glanced back at me, steel and conviction in his gaze. “But after each test, he returns to us. He holds his loyalties even if he is determined to add more innocents to his personal protection list. Until that changes, we claim him.”
Without a sound, he dissolved into smoke. All that remained was a light odor of sulfur and a hint of cinnamon.
LW: Thank you both for joining me here today. Readers can follow the dates and locations for the Mark of Kane Sizzling PR Book Tour @ http://lwherndon.com/
You can find me on:
For the giveaway: A $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour as well as to the host with the most comments. Additionally, two random drawn winners will receive the 2nd Thaddeus Kane ebook, on its release date, Fall 2012.